8

Slow is smooth is fast.

US Marines and ROK SEALS fastrope into an urban terrain facility from a MH-60S Seahawk from Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron 4 during a special operations forces (SOF) integration as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. The SOF integration used the combat skills and capabilities of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8133, ROK SEALS and Peru Special Forces to take down and capture a high value target.

(Photos by Corporal Matthew Bragg, 10 JUL 2014.)

Americans frequently see media reports of the aggressive North Korean regime carrying out this or that ostentatious military maneuver, which indeed does happen. How often do Americans hear about the incredibly ostentatious military exercise, one of the biggest in the world, that Washington carries out right in South Korea, at least in part to threaten Pyongyang? If a designated enemy state of ours was conducting training on the Mexico border designed to prepare for regime change contingencies, how would Washington react?
North Korea remains a favorite threat for the Pentagon. After the Cold War ended, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army General Colin Powell admitted: “I’m running out of demons. I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” Two decades later, North Korea remains a favorite demon for Army Generals. We are told the newest North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is as crazy and unpredictable as his forefathers. Our corporate media demonizes him in every report, but they do not tell you that he loves American basketball and speaks English. He attended a first-class private school in Switzerland for several years, and has a college degree in physics. Despite traditional saber rattling talk, he is worldly enough to know that North Korea would quickly lose a war.

As American forces leave Afghanistan, Army Generals want to justify their wartime budget by exaggerating the North Korean threat, ignoring that South Korea has twice the population, 50 times the economic power, and a modern military that is roughly five times stronger than the decrepit North Korean Army. In addition, South Korea has fortified and mined its mountainous border region along the DMZ so no vehicles can pass.

A North Korean offensive across the DMZ would result in a World War I style slaughter of North Korean infantry within a few miles of the border. The mobilized South Korean army is five times larger than the mob of uniformed rice farmers just north of the DMZ. South Korea would easily win any war with the North, which teeters on economic collapse during peacetime.

Not a single American soldier is needed to defend South Korea. The 28,500 remaining American combat troops are just a symbolic commitment to South Korean security, and a diplomatic tool that deters South Korea from developing its own nuclear weaponry, which would upset China and Japan. The U.S. Army has yet to adjust to this reality. For example, it spends a billion dollars a year to maintain four American bases in southern South Korea - known as the Daegu complex. These logistics bases exist to support outdated plans to accommodate thousands of American troops arriving to help defend South Korea in wartime. No GIs are required to help the larger and vastly superior South Korean Army defend its nation from its poor northern cousins, and no one believes China would foolishly start a world war by attacking its major trading partner, South Korea.

[…]

Most South Koreans do not view Americans as saviors from communism. They have no memory of the Korean war and want peace. A key step is the closure of American bases because North Korea has long maintained that the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Korean peninsula is a prerequisite for peace. There are no Chinese or Russian forces in North Korea, even though South Korea is far stronger. South Korea political leaders deal with a growing number of nationalists and pacifists who want the American military to leave, and traditional supporters of a long standing alliance. Many South Koreans support American bases only because they benefit from the billions of dollars in annual American military spending, which generates tens of thousands of jobs.
—  Carlton Meyer, Withdraw from DMZ Bases
3

Celebrating thirty-three years of making China nervous.

[1] Royal Thai and Republic of Korea amphibious assault vehicles lay a smoke screen during an amphibious demonstration at Hat Yao Beach.

[2] A ROK Marine assists in securing the beachhead during the assault demonstration.

[3] U.S. Marine Cpl. Jacob Obrienflasch, left, and Sgt. David Wainright, stand in formation alongside Republic of Korea Marine Corps at Hat Yao Beach after conducting an amphibious demonstration during exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Cobra Gold, in its 33rd iteration, is designed to advance regional security in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program.

(U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joy M. Kirch-Kelling, 14 FEB 2014.)

To this day, the U.S. backs South Korea. Washington has security guarantees with Seoul obligating the U.S to go to war against South Korea’s enemies in the event conflict breaks out. Americans are told they must spend taxpayer money providing military aid and paying expensive operating costs for tens of thousands of U.S. troops so that South Korea is properly defended.

But Seoul can easily defend itself. South Korea’s GDP is $1.13 trillion, versus North Korea’s paltry $40 billion, with similar disparities in the sizes of their respective defense budgets.

The brutal authoritarian regime of North Korea is made out to be a major threat to its neighbors, but it is comparatively weak, lacking the kind of advanced industrial and technological military capacity of its southern neighbor and, certainly, the U.S. Experts consider Pyongyang unfit to fight an extended modern battle.

Contrary to the rhetoric that justifies continued U.S. meddling in a civil war that is none of our business, the U.S. military presence in South Korea is not about deterring North Korea. More accurately, it is about maintaining U.S. military dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

5

Seoul, South Korea: National People’s Strike against the Park Geun-hye regime, February 25, 2014.

Workers and People in Korea walked out against the repressive policies of the Park Geun-hye government on the last day of her first year in office. Around 100,000 people in 12 different cities took the street.

Photos: Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

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